The gods walked down from the stars and were once again welcomed to the planet. A world thirsty for gods and magic. But it won’t last. It never does. Fake gods created by clever humans will conquer spiritual belief. More often than not, one man’s greed will destroy the planet...but seriously, just let it go. Whether they vote to destroy the world together or one madman decrees this, it still blows up. Again and again.
Usually a cleansing fire washes across the planet. Then it will reset.
And for your kind, there is always room for the Gods.
You know that feeling you have that there is more to your shitty life? If you have pushed against the barrier between life and death, you felt the gods. In their presence, you glimpsed meaning. You see the gossamer web strands spiraling from your heart to all the people that loved you. The ones you touched with your Light. Oh how they loved you….
New gods, old gods and changed gods. The excitement of a world born again. And like commuters sipping morning coffee before another work day, the gods prepare for their shifts. And so hand in hand, the two binary stars walk from the Darkness back through Aurora's gate to the place they once existed as Lovers.
And the world reset.
Now they are an old couple. The space between the diner booth is as familiar as the closeness shared in bed. On walks, her fingers always seek his forearm and trace down to his hand which is inevitably shoved into a coat pocket. She always squeezes his hand three times: I-LOVE-YOU. Then they look at each other and smile.
The waitress takes their breakfast order and refills their coffees. Sadie is 19 and to her, this couple is old. Way older than 30. Older than 40. 50? Shit, who knows? Just old. But nice. The tall old guy is always reading. Books, newspapers, notebooks. But he's always polite and greets everybody with a smile. His wife is usually staring at her phone. She ignores everyone unless she has problem with her order and then we all hear it. She’s old too but still pretty. Her hair is always perfect and even though she doesn’t wear much makeup, her skin looks good...
And the lady looks up from her phone directly at the startled waitress with her wide blue eyes and winks. Sadie turns away and rushes off to another table. Well that was weird, she blushes as she approaches a table full of hungry construction workers.
“Oh quit messing with them” chides the old man without looking up from his book. The woman laughs and spoons sugar in her coffee.
Before the volcanos rose from the sea and called themselves islands, all they knew was their love. This windswept chain of islands in the Pacific northwest became their domain. Here, the island forests are full of deer, fern and berries. Craggy cliff tops above a pounding sea are filled with nesting birds. Bears, raccoons, cougars and foxes follow the cold, clear creeks that tumble down the mountains to the sea. They wait for spawning salmon or feast on crabs and shellfish. And the humans discovered these places too. The leeward bays became fishing villages. The streams and rivers became routes of trade. The life force that draws people here unites the sea and rain giving storm clouds in the sky.
Or...the man and the woman.
Settlers once worshipped the man as Cloud Eagle. The warrior of thunder and light. But they feared the woman. She was the Drowned Hag. Her staring blue eyes were unknown among the brown-eyed settlers and they feared her gaze and unpredictable temper. She dwelled deep in watery caves and walked on the bottom of streams and rivers. The Drowned Hag's nets dragged death and Darkness into her long, white arms.
The next people to invade and colonize the islands knew the woman as Dancing Fire. They worshipped the pale goddess and she taught them sacred dances. The man was regarded more warily. The Weeping God was a storm god and the fisherfolk worshipped him out of fear.
And Belief changed again and again to suit the needs of the islanders that came in waves. This never bothered them. They still gave and gathered their essence to every soul birthed on this rocky archipelago.
The man and woman loved the world. They shared it like today’s special at Osprey Bay Cafe. Steaming, hot coffee, buckwheat pancakes, eggs over easy and elk sausage all for $6.99. And like many old couples, they enjoy arguing.
“That fucking zit faced turd boy” says the woman narrowing her eyes at a gawky teenager in a black t-shirt decorated with skulls, ridiculously baggy pants and a wallet chain, “is a thief. He will steal.”
“Yeah, they all do”, smiles the man stirring wild honey into his coffee. “Testing his boundaries. By their own beliefs, he's not evil.”
When Sadie turns her back to ring up the bill, the teen nonchalantly slips a KitKat into his pocket. Then he pulls out his wallet, pays his tab and leaves a dollar on the table as he walks out.
“At least he left a tip” chuckles the man.
“Hmm”, muses the woman dragging her elk sausage through egg yolk before popping it into her mouth, “What if I told you I KNOW he’s evil? What if I told you before the new moon he will kill an innocent?”
“There is no more evil my love. They simply don’t care.”
“So you say, yet a girl will die. By HIS actions! His father's lawyer will save him from jail and he will go to a junior college in California. The girl will sleep beneath our cold earth in a pink casket lined with teddy bears and roses”.
“Oh?” nods the man without concern. “I suppose that would be a victory for you. Well, maybe in the old days.”
“Trace his thread!” demands the woman. “The soul is mine.”
The old man sighs, puts down his book and smiles at his wife. Even today, her old fierce self burns through. This woman has never backed down from anything.
“In the old days you would be right dear. He kills the girl. Blood for blood, life for life. But now we know he drinks the beer for you. Rebellion. Like stealing candy. Seven beers and vodka causes the crash. The girl dies an innocent. He drinks because he is young and foolish. This soul is mine woman.”
The electricity in the cafe flickers as the woman stares malevolently at him. He drowns in her wide blue eyes. Helpless, all he can do is grin at her and wait. Powerless as always in her spell. After all these years, she is still so fucking beautiful, he muses. Too beautiful for the likes of him but maybe that is why she puts up with his nonsense. No matter what happens in their lives, his soul is always a prisoner in her eyes.
And primal energy streams through each patron as they question their existence. For an awkward moment, everyone becomes misty eyed and longs for their secret love. The love that calls to them louder than all other loves. Some are lucky and have this person in their life but most are not. They stare at their companions like strangers and question reality for a mad moment...And then the flickering lights stop. The spell is broken and they go back to their breakfasts.
The woman smiles the same smile that has greeted the man at dawn for thousands of years.
“Times have changed” she says. “But someday Empty Wolf, you will know I’m right.”
“Empty Wolf?”, laughs the man, “The Eternal Devourer of Men heheh....Why no one has called me that for 6 generations. And my dear, you are ALWAYS right.”
“They don’t believe in justice anymore”, sighs the woman.
“Well not your justice. And I agree in principal. His head should decorate a pole and stare at the sunset until the gulls peck it clean. But in this age, the little shit wins. So do I.”
The woman smiles. The eternal argument.
“Ok. Let’s go. Let’s get ice cream at Stanley’s Sweets and walk to my sea.”
“You mean my sea”, corrects the man. “Before the last curtain of Darkness, the last folks to come through believed my tears created the sea. Remember?”
“Yeah whatever. It was mine before yours. I was the White Seal who brought fishermen safely to shore.”
“And the Sea Hag,” reminds the man as they walk out into a frozen February.
Hand in hand, they approach the lookout. She eats a double scoop waffle cone with chocolate banana fudge and strawberry. He eats a peanut butter chocolate chip brownie. The lookout spans across a bay where whales wander. The cliffs hunched over the sea were places of worship and sacrifice to the old couple who munched on their sweets and watch seagulls wheel high above the sea. The kid from the diner sits on a bench staring out over the ocean as well. Faint traces of marijuana linger in the air from his pipe.
The teen stares across the water while enjoying his stolen candy bar. A gull cries out and the teen is confused as the ocean suddenly grows still and flat. The waves stop. A wide, green square of ocean lies motionless like an emerald tile before him.
Whoa, thinks the teen. Trippy.
Stoned and silly, he feels Them. He turns around but no one is there. Above the smooth, green sea floats a cloud. Kinda looks like a wolf, thinks the teen as he finishes his KitKat and throws the wrapper into the sea.